House Calls

WIN 2019

House Calls Magazine is a quarterly publication that focuses on health and wellness. It includes a wide assortment of articles with topics on the latest health and wellness information, nutrition, safety, lifestyles, and more.

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For breastfeeding women returning to work—and/or wanting another caretaker to be able to feed the baby—a breast pump is key. Pumps, which use suction to extract milk from the breast, come in a variety of styles, including both manual and electric (the latter is a good fit for moms pumping daily). Lactation consultants can help answer questions about when to begin pumping (it's generally recommended to wait until breastfeeding is well established, so for a few weeks after baby's birth) or about how to use your pump. "Anita is the reason I knew I had to change the pump parts periodically, which has been a game changer since returning to work and pumping so frequently," says Katie. "I can think of several times when I could have easily thought my supply was diminishing but really I just needed to change pump parts." According to the CDC, freshly pumped, or expressed, milk can last at room temperature for up to four hours, in the fridge for up to four days, or in the freezer for up to six months. Check with a lactation consultant—or do research online—for more safe storage and handling tips. BREAST PUMP 101 34 { winter 2019 } h o u s e c a l l s plenty of rest and hydration; nursing with the baby's chin pointed toward the clog; and nursing in varying positions, including on all fours, which can help to completely drain the breast. If the problem persists, mom may need to be evaluated by a doctor for antibiotics. • Low milk supply: Supply can drop early on or after a mom is well established with breastfeeding, and the cause can range from a change in schedule to a hormone imbalance or thyroid problem in the mother. Some dips may be short-term; decongestants, for example, can temporarily decrease a mom's milk supply. If a baby's growth slows or a mom suspects a decrease in supply, Fort recommends an evaluation to determine the cause. "Some moms use herbal therapy to increase supply; oats and barley can help, as can grainy foods," she notes. "We can also work with her doctors to correct the issue with medication, if need be." • Tongue-tie: When a baby is having trouble breastfeeding in the hospital, Fort will assess for ankyloglossia, or tongue-tie. When tongue- tie is present, a baby's tongue has restricted motion, and latching may be difficult. Treatment may include frenotomy, an in-hospital procedure that involves releasing the tongue-tie tether; more severe cases may be referred to an ENT or pediatric dentist. "Babies can go on to have dental or speech issues, so it's important to have this addressed," Fort says. • Societal factors: Many moms struggle with breastfeeding in public or with pumping once they've returned to work. "There are laws in South Carolina that protect women who want to breastfeed in public," Fort says. In the workplace, there are laws to protect moms too, including the South Carolina Nursing Mothers Act of 2018, which mandates workplaces to provide suitable accommodations for breastfeeding mothers to express milk. "Other women can provide encouragement and been-there-done-that advice, as well," notes Fort. Overcoming the Obstacles Despite these and other hurdles, in most cases, the benefits of breastfeeding far outweigh the challenges. Before delivery, Fort encourages expectant mothers to seek support from doctors, lactation consultants, family members, and friends to boost their chances of success. "A lot depends on prenatal education," she adds. Pre- and postnatal classes and support groups, like those offered by Roper St. Francis Healthcare and the La Leche League Mount Pleasant, North Mount Pleasant, North Charleston, Summerville, and West Ashley Groups, are also key. "It's so important to talk with other moms and form that helpful support," says Fort. Though breastfeeding is healthy for mom and baby, Fort acknowledges that not everyone can breastfeed. "There are some challenges that make it harder, and some moms' circumstances, such as cancer and certain infections, may not be compatible with breastfeeding." Ultimately, parents are encouraged to make the feeding choice that's right for them. "Our goal is to provide education for each mom to make an informed feeding choice, and then to support her," Fort adds. "It's helpful for expecting moms to be aware of potential roadblocks so they aren't caught off guard or think they're alone in it." —ANITA FORT

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